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What’s it all about, Albo? Morrison or you?

I’m inclined to believe that the next election is more likely to be about Morrison than Albanese. If that seems odd to you, then stay with me. In the most recent US Presidential Election, Senator Biden used a low-key strategy focused not on himself but President Trump’s record, policies, actions, offensiveness, and lying.

In other words, he made Trump the issue, just as Howard did with Latham, and Morrison with Shorten. It was not about himself. This strategy proved to be most effective, and Biden went on to win by 6 million votes. And Howard then Morrison.

Ostensibly what Albo has to do is be himself and point out until boredom sets in the many varied and costly mistakes the Coalition has made. None more so than the Robodebt fiasco which cost the taxpayer an estimated 2 billion dollars. Thus far, nobody is responsible for probably the most extraordinary act of culpability the nation has ever seen, and it was the Prime Minister’s idea and responsibility. Nothing short of a Royal Commission is required to flush out those responsible for this crime against the citizens of Australia.

By playing low key, Albo, in my opinion, will place the focus entirely on Morrison, his policies, his record and his character. Not a bad strategy when you bundle up almost three terms of plain awful governance. When you look back over the Coalition’s three terms in office, you cannot be but shocked at the extent of their incompetency.

The sheer length of their horrifying governance and the volume of their inhumaneness is what Albo must attack. It would stretch the length of any campaign trail and give forth a constant stream of scandal, corruption, and bad management.

For me, it’s got to be, “Has your life improved under the Coalition government?” Or “Look at the performance of this government, it has been atrocious – scandal after scandal, numerous bad policies and the absence of any humanity where citizens can feel their government has their back and won’t abandon them.”

My premises are not based on wishful thinking but on the belief that there is always a point when all the wrong you created eventually catches up. And there is ample evidence of that now.

It seems to me that for some time now, the electorate has been giving Morrison more than just a cursory going over. Instead, they have become more analytical of the man and his policies.

An election might have been pencilled in for the last quarter of 2021, but a string of atrocious scandals, decisions, and massive mishandling of COVID-19 vaccinations may have forced them to pull out until the first quarter of 2022.

Indeed, the Coalition will start favourite mainly because – ironically – of their handling the pandemic. Early on, there is no doubt that the government will inherit the favour of the people (even though the states bore the heavy burden), however, all that will be negated by its woeful handling of the vaccine distribution. There is great angst in the community against its inability to carry out the promises it proposed.

Another societal or phycological mismanagement that could cost them dearly is the refusal of the Prime Minister to release the Tamil family detained for two years on Christmas Island.

We have gone past the used by date of “stop the boats” and “on-water matters” of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison era. Past the scaremongering of “Muslims are coming to get you,” and “marriage inequality.” And beyond, second-rate politicians like Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack warn against federal Liberal MPs’ calls for the Biloela Tamil family detained on Christmas Island to return home to Queensland.

The treatment of this family and others is so unrepresentative of our instincts as global citizens that it makes my blood boil. It infuriates my understanding of why we vote to retain such a Prime Minister. Perhaps he should consult his wife Jen as he did about rape to determine the damage incarceration can do to children roughly the same age as his own.

This story has echoed worldwide and reminded us of how cruelly Australia practises its deterrence – the more stubborn, the better. My view is that the world is sick to death of the far-right phonies who pretend to know what is best for us when it is really them that know who governments can do best for.

David Littleproud (Deputy leader of the National Party) said on morning ABC News (14 June) that a solution for the Biloela family would be found because, ultimately, we are a fair people. I wouldn’t dispute that it’s just that we have a dreadfully unfair government.

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

As I write, our media suggests that the government is on the verge of announcing a solution. However, even if they do, a residue of the stench of the government’s inaction will follow them into the election.

The people have had enough of this gratuitous governance for almost a decade now, and may I suggest people want more truth, more transparency, more honesty, more of all the things in the ingredients in the recipe of good governance? But, in reality, all the things this government is not.

There is nothing new about scandals; they have been part of the political landscape for as long as I can remember. But unfortunately, so frequently do they occur that if you blink, you might miss them.

Here is one, now almost all but forgotten:

In December 2019, contrary to the rules on the use of commonwealth aircraft, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer billed taxpayers almost $5,000 to take the prime minister’s private jet from Canberra to Sydney for Lachlan Murdoch’s 2018 Christmas party. There was little public outcry, no remorse, no embarrassment, and it scarcely registered as a scandal? It’s that easy to get away with.

In February of this year, Nick Feik in The Monthly wrote of this scandal-ridden government that:

“Scandals are nothing new in Australian politics, but the way they have piled up in the recent years of Coalition government points to a critical shift in our governance. Acts of malfeasance and impropriety have become more than isolated episodes, more than egregious slips or embarrassing failures. Unexplained and unresolved, they are open wounds on the body politic, overlapping and now chronic.”

Of course, the next election and the accompanying campaign policies will carry the burden of climate change. But, whilst an agreement by the G7 last weekend commits members to phase out government support for fossil fuels, our Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was singing the praises of coal, reinforcing yet again his government’s commitment to the industry.

That the Coalition remains in dispute of the science is a given. That they intend to do little to improve the planet’s health must be a feature of Labor’s campaign. But just as public opinion is now firmly behind a world without fossil fuels, it would be a significant mistake not to take an unshakeable commitment to renewables to the election.

There is a mountain of material to attack the Coalition on appalling governance alone. But, further, I believe that the electorate has realised that corrupt liars and fools govern us.

The Australian people are waking up to the fact that government affects every part of their lives, and should be more interested. As a result, the political malaise that has been so deep-seated is beginning to disintegrate, and the government is being judged with reinvigorated minds.

“Hey, these guys are corrupt,” you will hear them say.

My thought for the day.

“I feel people on the right of politics in Australia show an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have a hate on their lips, and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.”

PS: In its wisdom (or cruelty), the government granted the Tamil family community detention, which in reality is no decision at all, just an extension of its problem (or misery). This should be of no surprise given their attitude to such matters.

I believe that l have not fully covered my argument in this piece, so l will continue on this theme in my next post. Your comments might be of some assistance.

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30 comments

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  1. Bryony Fearn

    The most striking thing about the Biloela family interview between Alex Hawke MP and Leigh Sales (apart from the stiff, cardboard cut-out caricature he is of a man in a suit), was his dead eyes and the empty hole where his heart should be.
    Yet he labels himself a ‘Christian’.
    “Suffer little children to come unto me” – yeah, right..

  2. Harry Lime

    I sincerely hope you’re right John,perhaps Albanese is smarter than he his given credit for.Although many of us would prefer he demonstrate more mongrel,the first and most important step is to win government,and only then can real change be wrought.
    Will Murdoch’s outrageous trash water down their propaganda and biased support for this criminal government? Will the likes of ‘mates ‘ like Foghorn Hadley suddenly see the light? Albanese has said we are in the’last quarter’ and are’ kicking with the wind’.Well, we know it’s not over until the fat lady sings,but you need to be close enough to win,and the political pundits were all wrong last time.Labor is far from perfect,but another term of the Liar’s bullshit may put us beyond recovery.

  3. Ken

    Spot on. Cardboard cutout indeed was how Alex Hawke looked on 7.30 last night.
    With Morrison and Dutton pulling his strings.

  4. wam

    The pool was freezing this morning and I needed a warm up lord, thanks.
    ‘There is a mountain of material to attack the Coalition on appalling governance alone’ is true. So it makes great sense for albo to play low key and have scummo do the attacking labor and the loonies jobs loss and economic disaster. Fortunately, albo, can rely on the media to share an honest assessment of morrison’s campaign against albo’s low-key compliance.
    Albo came good, albeit too bloody late, on the australian family on xmas island and has the time left before the election to stir the shit out of these crooks. This will give him some traction for the election.
    Low key short election time bye bye labor.
    ps how good would beazley and shorten have been as PM?

  5. Glenn Wilson

    All that is written about this corrupt and incompetent government is beyond doubt. What is not beyond doubt though is, is Labor up to it?

    On current form and with the current leader, I doubt it – sadly.

  6. Phil Pryor

    Every day, the opposition, and Mr. Albanese especially, must attack the P M and his lack of policy and performance. They must attack the duds and deviates in government ranks who fail to work, serve, behave properly. The government is an excrescence, and expulsion, an ejection. It must be attacked relentlessly. As well, alternatives must be found, described, refined, plugged, sloganned, pushed and driven , as clearly as can be offered and differentiated. Oppose, constantly, loudly, then do it AGAIN.

  7. Florence Howarth

    It is not about making yourself a small target. It will be about keeping the focus on the PM. If this occurs, as a former Labor leader in opposition said, the drover’s dog could have won. I see no reason why Albanese & the team he leads won’t be a success.

    IMHO, Albanese has proven himself to be a decent man, which Morrison will find hard to demonise. Too much ridicule will backfire on him.

  8. Florence Howarth

    If Albanese proves he is not up to it, there is plenty of depth in the team to replace him. The options are numerous. Not so in the government.

  9. Peter F

    As soon as Albanese starts attacking the failures of the coalition, all the fury of the Murdoch media will turn those attacks into an attack on ‘our way of life’ or ‘everyday Australians’. Perhaps the small target approach is based on more political understanding than is given credit. I certainly hope so.

  10. Keitha Granville

    I don’t know whether that’s an approach that will beat the lying conniving bastards of the LNP. All of the corruption you mention, and plenty more, seems to have washed over the electorate with barely a ripple. Nobody seems to care. Sadly the Coalition knows that people want to know what they’ll GET and care little about what should be done. Albo should definitely attack more in parliament, but he seems too gentle. He is no Keating. Then other part that worried me is that ALL parties want to be part of the free stuff, short of corruption maybe, but free nonetheless. If Labor can bite the bullet and make commitments to stop the gravy train that feeds them, the electorate would hear that loud and clear. People are tired of the belt tightening and no wage rises when they see the excesses of the parliamentary expense account. Not just the lavish extras like plane and helicopter rides, the regular everyday allowances – free dining, travel, and the rest – which is provided with practically NO other employment. The divide between the life of the average family and the wanton spendthrifts in government and their families is a chasm.
    If Labor can bring themselves to close that up they’d be a shoe in.

    I have no words for the Tamil family. They are being used as pawns now, an advertisement for the government to show the people smugglers, who apparently watch all the goings on in Australian politics every day to make decisions about when to start their trade. It’s an international shame, we are behaving like grubs.

  11. Mr Bronte ALLAN

    Great & so bloody true article Mr Lord! The ENTIRE fucking COALition mob should be hung drawn & quart-ed! NOT ONE of these so-called liberal/ conservative dickheads could give a hoot about the plight of this Tamil family, as is demonstarted by their sheer dickheadedness in now “allowing ” (?) them to live in Australia–in yet another “detention center”. The bastards! Albo MUST start doing something like you have suggested & attack, attack, attack, all of these fuck wits continually, until the voting public realise just how bad & rotten this lying mob is.

  12. New England Cocky

    in the unfortunate event that Kaye Lee fails to nominate for federral Parliament at the next feral elections may I draw your attention to some of the other impressive ladies in the wings prepared to take the fight up to the Lairbal Nazional COALition misgovernment?

    Naturally Tanya stands out as a real Labor leader but also in NSW ranks there is Rose Jackson who is taking the fight up to the corrupt NSW misgovernment.

  13. Kerri

    So two young people arrive in Australia, meet, fall in love and marry. Then they move to a country town short of labour and not only do they earn by filling the employee gap BUT THEY PAY THEIR TAXES and they do voluntary work. They have two children and are so loved by their community that the threat of deportation raises huge protests.
    But they are not allowed to stay here because they are “illegals”.
    On the flip side, a number of Australian multi millionaires take taxpayer funds through JobKeeper and pay it out in dividends to their wealthy shareholders, effectively stealing taxpayers money.
    But they are regarded as model citizens?
    Whatever happened to “if you have a go you get a go”?

  14. leefe

    I have to disagree on one point. The Coalition has benefited from the pandemic not because of their handling of it, but because of the various state leaders’ management.

    The federal misgovernment should have done a great deal, but perhaps we ought to be grateful that they left the hard yards to the others, because they would have cocked it up thoroughly.

  15. Glenn K

    Many of you are too impatient – wanting and waiting for the ALP to go to attack mode. To soothe your collective anger. I note how the LNP have been totally unable to make any mud stick to Albo. None. Think back to how much mud was thrown at Shorten, and how much of it managed to stick – legitimate or otherwise. Perhaps Albo is made of teflon, certainly he is performing like that. The LNP spent daily energy attacking Shorten because it was gaining traction. Not so with Albo. They’ll ramp up their attempts when the election is called, but by then it will be too late for it to stick.
    Be patient my little petals……me thinks the ALP have a good strategy. And i say this from afar, viewing Australia from Europe.

  16. Old Codger

    My son is a university student in Sydney and a member of the Labor Party. At party meetings it has been stated that the party is keeping its powder dry and waiting. They know that if they show their hands now, the MSM will be all over them, analysing and criticising everything they can.

    I also feel that the Biden approach might be the way to go, win the election by making Morrison the subject and his acceptance of corruption and incompetence of his government.

  17. Ill fares the land

    I am inclined to agree with the low-key approach. I have read many articles and comments on how Labor is not “cutting through” and truth be told, I share those concerns. But for a while now I have thought it feasible that Albanese not going “all out” now is to be preferred. The list of scandals, corruption and examples of Promo Morrison basically putting his foot in his mouth and precipitating crises is long and Promo still retains significant voter support – that is largely unfathomable, until you remember that when it comes to “group think”, “none of us is a stupid as all of us” – and it is as valid to say ” ….. many of us”. That doesn’t mean that his incompetence, his fragile ego, his utter lack of empathy and his intellectual mediocrity shouldn’t be the subject of ongoing criticism, but I think the better time for a “boots and all” approach may be once Promo calls an election. Anything Labor comes out with now just tends to get brushed aside, or worse, will be relentlessly attacked by Promo and his friend Murdoch. Imagine Albanese coming out with a clear policy on climate change – that would be the precursor to a frenzied campaign – Promo out in Queensland saying “Labor wants to take your utes, increase unemployment, ruin the economy, stop chooks laying” for months. Promo will still do that in an election campaign, but if Labor are out on the hustings pushing his as anti-climate change, pro-corruption, anti-accountability, paranoid about any form of scrutiny and a bare-faced liar (this is not an exhaustive list), the impact might be diminished enough to give Labor a chance. In one sense, I don’t want to be wrong – otherwise Labor really is in trouble and so then is Australia.

  18. Bert

    The biggest problem in Australia today is the MSM controlled by murdoch and the other lesser players. People of reasonable intelligence will get information from a variety of sources and weigh up the pro’s and con’s of all politicians and vote accordingly but when you have a situation as it is here where the MSM is predominately right wing it wouldn’t matter if JC himself were Labor leader he wouldn’t get a fair go.

    Most of the centre left media is concentrated online and people won’t get their news and the views of the publisher because they can’t be stuffed looking for it. Instead they just accept whatever bullshit is being served up by murdoch and his minions along with the other mobs while publications such as this one we read along with Independent Australia, The Guardian, Pearls and Inspirations and many others fail to gain traction in the wider scheme of things.

    As for the ABC, it has been castrated and I doubt it can ever get back to the organisation it once was.

    Until there is an overhaul of media ownership in this country that’s how it will remain.

  19. Harry Lime

    III,I’m coming around to that point of view,after all Labor is not devoid of intelligent people.It makes sense in light of what happened last time,and they have a warehouse full of ammunition,a la ‘keeping the powder dry’.They had better get their shit well and truly together,because the Liar and his enablers will make the last election look like a mothers club difference of opinion.They have more to lose than just their seats. On the positive side,every day has the very real potential for shithead and his insulting,shower of shit ‘government’ to inflict mortal wounds on themselves.
    Have to agree,Bert.Lets hope for a positive change.

  20. Andrew J. Smith

    Let it be the Morrison govt. and the LNP sta in the public eye making mistakes hoping that QLD reverts back to normalcy giving back seats to Labor after the previous Palmer United/NewsCorp anti-Labor campaign (nor helped by admirer of Menzies, Bob Brown).

    As other commenters suggest, it would be suicidal for Labor to go on the attack in Australia’s media environment i.e. nativist right wing LNP supporting monopoly that ignores and/or does not cater to local or regional issues but caters directly to the most important demographic i.e. baby boomers and oldies rusted onto legacy media (often via sport).

  21. Terence Mills

    This next federal election will be about coal and will be fought out in the Queensland coal mining regions.

    I live in North Queensland and I believe that our community generally acknowledges that demand for coal is declining and that it will eventually be fazed out as, without a lucrative export return, the industry will cease to be viable : simple as that – it may take some years but the writing is on the wall and investment in new coalmines and coalfired power stations will not get private funding.

    The National Party up here have transformed themselves from a party representing farmers and the agricultural community to a mish-mash of interests and as populists and opportunists they are hitching up to the fossil fuel wagon just to stay alive.

    Labor needs to come out with some definitive policies on the transition away from coal to renewables and they need to expose the duplicity of the Nationals once and for all.

  22. Michael Taylor

    Can’t disagree with that, Terence.

    Labor lost the last election because of the points you raise. I was thus saddened to see in The Guardian that Labor is now backing coal.

    Idiots.

  23. guest

    The claim by some is that Albanese should be more belligerent in his dealings with the Morrison government. He has sent of a few hostile volleys in his reply to the budget. Some people seem not to have noticed.

    Murdoch comes under some fire with regard to bias and interference in Oz politics. Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have instigated an inquiry into media distribution. Rudd describes Murdoch media as a “cancer on democracy” and “blending editorial opinion with news reporting”. Turnbull says Murdoch media is “pure propaganda” and a “campaign on climate denial”.

    One thing pointed out by some is Murdoch’s problem with women (Blair Williams, theconversation.com, 18/11/ 2020) One example given is from the Sunshine Coast Daily front page with the heading “Anna, You’re Next” with the cross hairs of a gun circling her face. Even Liberal women are criticised. And we see how the Australia Club works. And Morrison clearly has problems in his own party.

    “Conflict, confusion and contradiction are part of the the strategy”. We see this in an article in the Australian by Katrina Grace Kelly (5/6/2021), “Virus won’t stop Australia’s New York of the future”, which explains the difference between Melbourne and Sydney in terms of population and geographical distribution, which contradicts the Murdoch pile-on against Dan Andrews.

    Paul Kelly explains to Turnbull why the Murdoch media pursues the denial line on climate change – because others tout climate activism, so Murdoch presses denial – except he does not really because he claims he believes in climate change, but not the alarmist, catastrophic kind. A kind of sitting on the fence. It allows denial aided by “freedom of speech”.

    So Morrison and Angus Taylor come up with a “technology” based approach to mitigating greenhouse gases. They claim they have already done their bit. They speak of gas power, hydro-electric energy, carbon capture and storage, green hydrogen and believe coal will be in demand well towards the end of this century. So far, the explanation is not very convincing. None of those “technologies” are well developed and promise to be expensive or inefficient or both. And they seem to hope that some new technology will arise which will allow coal to be burnt as before – or even more! If not Oz, then someone else!

    Meanwhile most of the world has signed up to the Paris Agreement, which asks for transparency and plans and help for less developing countries. How well is Oz meeting those requirements?

    If we look at the right-wing think tank IPA, which is at the back of the Liberals, it seems not so well. In the third edition of Climate Change: Climate Change 2017, the editor tells us there are anomalies or contradictions expressed among the contributors, but she hopes these will all be reconciled over time. Contradictions reconciled? She said what? And since IPCC climate science is a false hypothesis, she says, her team must keep gathering data and it will be found climate change is the result of natural “cycles’ – it is a conclusion already decided!

    Albo already has heaps of ammunition to fire at Morrison and his shaky government. He has more, in the recent events involving women and children, his shaky status in the recent G7 meeting, his flailing distribution of vaccines, the neglect of aged homes, the revealed frauds perpetrated from the bushfires, support given by a foreign newspaper proprietor deigned not suitable by a judge in the UK and always interfering in Oz politics – some of whose spokes-persons claimed Trump was robbed in the US election results.

    It is a messy business. And Murdoch has worked hard to diminish opposition to his neo-liberal views by closing rural news outlets

    Democracy is in real danger. Time is running out.

  24. Zathras

    If the ALP copies the Liberals by backing coal for the sake of immediate political expediency it will be the same as when they backed them over refugee policy and lost any moral standing they may have had and dragged us all down the hole we’re now trapped in.

    Ultimately it’s another dead end for them as well as the country.

    It won’t be long before there are heavy job losses in the coal industry globally and mining companies will slink away leaving a legacy of environmental devastation behind.

    If the public are prepared to ignore the scandals, financial impropriety and corruption that defines this government, the ALP once again marketting themselves as “Liberal Lite” offers voters no clear choice nor any reason to change.

    It’s a time for political courage, not for playing it safe and hoping for the best.

  25. Terence Mills

    If we don’t start to planning for the transition away from coal we are letting down those in the mining industry.

    The drop off in demand for export coal is already becoming apparent and as the demand falls away so will the jobs and many in the coal mining areas of Queensland and NSW will be left high and dry.

    The National Party in particular need to take on board the changing circumstances and start the transitioning process.

    Matt Canavan running around in a high-viz shirt, hard hat and coal smudges on his face isn’t a coalminer : he’s a fraud

  26. guest

    Zathras and Terence Mills and others,

    You are right about Labor needing to be transparent and honest. It cannot pretend to be Coalition Lite. And Joel Fitzgibbon must be part of the honesty himself. The idea Labor must split to cater for dissenters is not the way to go.

    And as neoliberalism is revealed as the destructive force that it is and the world better understands the power of cooperation learnt in the pandemic rather than competition and greed, the better the world will be.

    Albo needs to have a plan or roadmap into the future. What he will tell Australia and the world about mitigating greenhouse gases must be better and more comprehensive than the Claytons (remember that 1980s brand?) climate roadmap espoused by the Coalition.

    Further to the Katrina Grace Kelly article from Murdoch media mentioned in my earlier post, it was interesting to see how politicised is the idea of lockdowns as occurring in Melbourne and Sydney – shown on Q+A 17/6/2021. Labor bad, Coalition good.

    And on the same program, the hurt being inflicted on small business not able to get government support now, whereas some successful businesses have received support when the support scheme operated and have kept the cash.

    Concerning the Biloela family mentioned on Q+A, there is some sympathy expressed, elsewhere even by Barnaby Joyce and Coalition members. A tweet pointed out that travel advice is that Sri Lanka is not a good place to visit because even after the civil war finished in 2009 and thousands had been killed (UN panel claim), “conditions had not fully improved”. Wikipedia, “Murugappan family asylum claims”).

    Apparently, Morrison himself had said: “…they are eligible to apply to come to Australia under the same processes as everyone else and I hope they will.” (Wikipedia op.cit. reference #36 NewsCorp under paywall).

    But the whole matter is delayed by litigation and appeals. Not a good look.

  27. Zathras

    guest, “Albo needs to have a plan or roadmap into the future..” As I recall, rather than adopt the “small target approach”, Shorten provided plenty of detailed policies and objectives during his campaign and some long before, but in the end he was foiled primarily because of certain Queensland Adani interests (whatever happened to those 10,000 jobs?) and projecting mixed messages about coal in particular. Even now, Fitzgibbon was spooked enough by a drift of votes to One Nation in his seat to go into self-preservation mode rather than promote Party unity.

    Australia has voted overwhelming in favour of conservative governments over the last few decades but maybe (and hopefully) they are tiring of the extremist and neo-conservative version they are witnessing. The problem is that Albo is saying and doing many of the right things but is being ignored by the media who prefer gushing over photos of the PM in high-vis and sitting behind the wheel of something.

    Maybe we get the governments we deserve.

  28. Terence Mills

    Is it a crime to report a crime ?

    Reported by the media this morning :

    **The former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer stood behind a wall of black panels, invisible to the packed courtroom, as he was sentenced on Friday to a three-month suspended term of imprisonment and a 12-month good behaviour order.**

    It has not been reported what sentence John Howard or Alexander Downer have received !

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